2008 On Joe Biden
posted by August 22 at 22:20 PMon
Originally posted on Wednesday, but moved up because of the news that Biden is, in fact, the VP nominee.
I’ve been doing a bit of reading up on Sen. Joe Biden, now that everyone in politico-land seems to think he’s going to be Obama’s VP pick.
A few thoughts on up-sides and down-sides: I only just realized that Biden, who has served six terms in the Senate, was first elected to his current post at age 30 with his only previous experience being his stint as a county councilman in Delaware. If Biden becomes the VP, that story will be a great antidote to the talk about how Obama can’t be president because he is too young and anyway was a state legislator in Illinois just four years ago.
Yes, holding a senate seat is not the same as sitting in the Oval Office, but one can imagine Biden saying: “People told me I was too young and inexperienced. They said I had only been on the county council. But I was far younger and far less experienced than Barack Obama is now, and I did just fine for the people of Delaware.”
Other up-sides: Biden was for the Iraq war, and would therefore be able to spend a lot of time talking about how Obama was right and he was wrong—and how the Bush administration was really wrong in the way it conducted the war. Also: Biden is the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and his son is about to be deployed to Iraq, so he has that worldly gravitas and connection to military sacrifice that people say is an Obama blank spot. In addition: Biden got in trouble early in the primaries for calling Obama “clean and articulate,” so maybe having Biden on the ticket sends some sort of subliminal message about how Obama isn’t overly-sensitive and really doesn’t play the race card—to such an extent that he’d have a guy who maybe crossed some language lines as his VP. And finally: Biden is a highly-respected old white guy (but not too old!) with grey hair. The visual of the two of them together could, by itself, be very helpful.
Among the down-sides: Limbaugh is salivating, describing the potential ticket as “the arrogance factor times two. Biden and the Messiah would just be delicious.” Also, Biden, in his 1988 run for the presidency, was sidelined by a plagiarism scandal. Obama has faced his own plagiarism kerfuffle, and you can imagine the coming Republican attacks on the “plagiarist ticket.”
Additionally, Biden has been around a long time, and ran against Obama in the Iowa caucuses, so there will lots of interesting clips to dig up. In this one, at about 1:45, Biden, in an Iowa Democratic debate, stands by his contention that Obama is not ready to be president:
And here’s one that, as mentioned above, probably plays in the ticket’s favor. It’s also from an Iowa debate, and it shows Obama testifying about what’s in Biden’s heart after the moderator asks Biden about racially insensitive remarks he’d made:
UPDATE: And lo, the first Biden-related email from the McCain campaign hits my in-box at 11:22 p.m. As predicted above:
There has been no harsher critic of Barack Obama’s lack of experience than Joe Biden. Biden has denounced Barack Obama’s poor foreign policy judgment and has strongly argued in his own words what Americans are quickly realizing — that Barack Obama is not ready to be President.